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Career Story: Campus Planner At A State University

Campus Planner At A State University

Job Title: Campus Planner

Type of Company: I work for one of several campuses of a state university n New England.

Education: BA, Political Science, SUNY-Albany •• MA, International Relations, SUNY-Albany

Previous Experience: I worked as Assistant Director for Capital Budgets and then Director of Revenue for the Mass Bay Transportation Authority, the Boston public transit system.

Job Tasks: I'm responsible for overseeing the long-term planning and re-development of the infrastructure of a state university campus. The university has recently developed a 25-year campus master plan that contemplates the renovation and construction of academic buildings and athletic facilities, and that focuses on providing more green space, re-designing the road network, building new parking garages, adding campus housing for students, improving the infrastructure and making the campus more pedestrian-friendly.

In order to achieve these goals I work with the campus community -- faculty, students, and staff -- to understand the issues people have with existing campus facilities and what they would like to see changed. Clearly, though, both students and faculty would like to have up-to-date technology and equipment in classrooms and laboratories to enhance teaching, learning, and research.

I also work with the state agencies that will subsidize these projects and hire the architects and contractors who'll design, build, and renovate campus facilities and supporting infrastructure.

Another major component of the campus master plan is to make the campus more environmentally friendly and sustainable. We are examining alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power, studying building systems that are more energy efficient and encouraging more faculty, students and staff to use public transportation to get to and from campus.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is working on a campus-wide project that's intended to enhance the university's academic appeal by providing new academic facilities and making the campus a more welcoming and accessible place.

The worst part of the job is that because the university only has so much money to make these improvements, we have to decide where we are going to cut back even though many of these projects are worthy of funding.

Job Tips: This type of job requires strong organizational, communication and inter-personal skills. Proficiency with computer software is important, including use of spreadsheets, databases, and writing reports and memos. I would also recommend that if you want to pursue this kind of position you try to get management and administrative experience so that you can effectively supervise staff.

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